"Reception's bad...Only ever get but one station..."
"All the doors were numbered-
Earl lived in #2.
It had two twin beds,
but one was hidden by
a score of bulging paper sacks.
There was one chair;
the curtains were plastic (circa 1965)
and no decorations.
Just one teacup,
...and stacks and stacks and stacks
What Readers Say About "Strictly A Loner"
C.G.: "It only took me three hours to read this little book but it made me laugh, it made me cry...It made me feel and think so much about getting old, being alone, about family, about how to live..." W.P.: "The mailman delivered it yesterday and when I started to read it I didn't put it down until I finished it. Very well done; the only regret I had is that it wasn't longer. This $20.00 will cover the cost of the book plus mailing and if there is any left over put it beside my plate for my $2.00 breakfast."
P.M.: "I started to read and couldn't put the book down. Earl is very interesting and fits in today with the high cost of everything. We all need to be a bit more like Earl to survive. He was a little extreme but it worked for him. I kind of felt sorry for him too because he didn't seem to enjoy his life. My Aunt once said material things don't really count because you can't take them with you when you die and there is no such thing as a car top carrier on a hearse. It is what you leave behind that measures your life, like the love and memories that you have shared with others."
W.S.:"Part of his character is holding a mirror up to my personhood, part of him has demonstrated frugality that would make Calvin Coolidge proud to have him on his team, and the anti-hero lover in me loves people who jump when others are diving. Melville's "Barteble" bookkeeper has bits of him- declining the grand moments of life to conserve to a pattern that is safe, with restraint, and always in a denial/control that makes mere mortals straighten in the spine."
J.C.: "This is GREAT news...good for you! Smells like a PBS documentary to me...hmmm!
T.F.: "Hey, I loved the book. The topic was neat and your writing is excellent. Write more soon!!!! Please reserve me five more for xmas gifts! P.S. I alway knew you could do it!" C.H.: "Got the book today. I looked at excerpts and alot of what I read reminded me of living with Granma. Would you believe, in this day and age, she would send me to the store with $40 ...She was still living in the world that a loaf of bread was $.19... Granma did alot of the same things: numbers in her head, outloud- the world came to a halt if her checkbook/bank statements were off by a penny."
C.S.:"You did a fine job along with all involved in taking bits and pieces of seven years with Earl and writing a fine human interest book. I have been reading a bit each night before hitting the sack. I did actually see Earl on certain occasions in the Plattsburgh Public Library, at Senior Citizens' affairs, the open house of the American Military Retirees Assoc when they moved operations from Saranac Lake to 69 Court Street and in and about sections of the city. In fact he may have been at the same table with me during a St. Paddy's Day luncheon...must look in my photo album. Indeed Earl was a character and had some of the characteristics of a few other persons who were part of Plattsburgh's history...e.g. the Crete Brothers and another gentleman who lived on the corner of No. Prospect St who was a deeply concerned person who anonymously helped those in need yet deprived himself of any luxuries and maybe some of the basic necessitites of life. (Later:) Finished your unique book....I say unique because I don't recall that I ever read a similar or anyone near it in my life. I found the saddest paragraph in the book on page 90, upper left side. Your husband and you did a great deal for Earl out of the goodness of your hearts. Your sacrifices were very commendable and good Christian virtue. My feeling ....even a warm touching letter from Earl expressing simple gratitude certainly would have lifted your spirits and made both of you feel somewhere hidden beneath his callousness lay a touch of softness. As we say in Brooklynese..Bon Chance!"
D.B.: "Is my gig line straight? I looked in the mirror today and I think I saw Earl!"
M.D.: "I finished your book. Thanks for writing a very unusual tale. It was provoking, sad, and uplifting all wrapped into one, as my Irish Grandmother used to say, tasty "Mulligan Stew". Keep those keys clicking and I hope to read more of your offerings. Good job. You're the first writer that I have known personally."
M.A.B.: "I received your book in the mail yesterday and read it through from front to back cover in one sitting- I loved it! Thank you for getting it to me so promptly. It was a quick read and a great human interest story. Thank you also for the kind words in signing the book. Please let me know if/when you write another book. You can add me to your "fan club."
T.B.: "I have read your book “Strictly A Loner”; excellent!!! In many respects Earl reminds me of my mother- she would possibly been an excellent business woman. As it was, she devoted her life to bringing up her three sons, of which I was the youngest. Bear in mind I was born right at the start of the Second World War (in England) and therefore times were hard with rationing and so forth. She was determined that we should want for nothing, and went to extraordinary lengths to make sure we didn’t. My father, who was 57 years old when I was born, therefore was too old to go into the forces. He worked as a grocer’s assistant, which, in some respects, helped as far as providing food for the family was concerned. To give you some idea of the lengths my mother went to, to provide for us, here is an anecdote which took place when I was about 7 or 8 years old. A national newspaper, the “Daily Mirror”, was running a promotion, where by a young lady, know as the “Daily Mirror Golden Guinea Girl”, was in Blackpool for the day. If she spotted anybody carrying the “Daily Mirror” and wearing their badge she would give them a “Golden Guinea” (worth about £20 in today’s money). My mother took me down to the seafront promenade were it split into three levels, and made me stand against the seafront railings with a copy of the “Daily Mirror” and wearing the badge, whilst she waited across the road in a shop doorway. After what seemed like an eternity I was approached by an attractive young lady who introduced herself as the Golden Guinea Girl. She took my details and gave me a Golden Guinea. With great excitement I rushed across the road to tell my mother, but she had gone. I waited for some time and eventually she returned with a big beaming smile on her face. She had watched which way the Golden Guinea Girl had gone then ran along the upper level of the promenade, till she was passed her, then ran down the steps to her level, then walked straight to her, thereby getting an other Golden Guinea. She was an extraordinary mother!!"
S.F.: "I just finished you book and enjoyed it immensely. It is funny how reading about Earl congers up images of people I know who are also frugal - almost to the point of severe sacrifice. My 14 year old son saw me reading it and he asked if he could read it after I was done. He is a major book worm and I am sure he will provide some feedback."
H: "Heart-touching, sentimental, a good read; it held my interest. Brought back childhood memories of the Rooming Houses of that era; each one had its own individual character- but Earl... he was one of a kind!"
A.R.: "I JUST FINISHED Strictly a Loner --- WOW, what a character! Earl had to have been the strangest angel to pass through your life, hands down! BRAVO Kathy! Well done! ...My mom liked it too (she was hoping you'd get the million)"
R.C.: "Well, this guy is just phenomenal. This book is not what I expected. I never would have thought to read it except as a favor to you, but after only four chapters I loved it. I love your intro chapter about the Ice Age up there in Plattsburgh. What a love you guys had for this gentleman! Will recommend this book as much as I can. It brings home a lot of what is missing in the world today. It brought tears to my eyes. I really appreciated this book. You ought to be really proud."
D.T.: "I don't read much at all but I loved this one. Now I am driving around town looking at old men and wondering all the time! Thanks!"
R.C.: "Finished the book early Thursday morning when I couldn't sleep at the motel in North Canton. We are driving on a trip and I was reading it in the car. It's so well done. I was reading in bed and kept laughing out loud at some of it. I told J he should be very proud to be related to you. I always knew he had good genes!" M.O. (retired former English teacher) : "What a warm and loving tribute to Earl. Your kind words added immensely to my sense of "rightness" to my decision to move closer to my family in another state. Knowing I had done a fairly good job of teaching and my life's joy and work, as well as loving my husband, bolstered a questionable move. Now I know I must get busy and do something constructive with the next 5 or 10 years!"
Plattsburgh's Poorest Millionaire helps solve a murder mystery!
North Country Books 220 Lafayette Street, Utica, NY 13502
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